| Stanislas Wawrinka after reaching the final in Rome on Saturday. (AP) |
Rome: Andy Roddick and Radek Stepanek each retired from semi-final matches at the Rome Masters on Saturday, setting up a final between Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka.
Roddick pulled out with a back problem after falling behind 3-0 in the first set against Wawrinka. I felt a little something last night in my back when I was getting treatment. Then, one wrong movement and I had a complete spasm, Roddick said.
Stepanek stopped while trailing Djokovic 6-0, 1-0 with an apparent wrist injury and also looked affected by the heat.
On Friday, Stepanek eliminated top-ranked Roger Federer in this clay-court tune-up for the French Open, which begins May 25.
Injuries have been a common theme all week at the Foro Italico. Three-time defending champion Rafael Nadal suffered from a blister on his right foot in a second-round loss to Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Djokovic beat Stepanek in a fifth-set tie-breaker at last years US Open, a match that lasted 4 hours, 41 minutes. Saturdays match lasted little more than a half hour.
Stepanek called for a trainer after the first set and had ice applied to his neck. He retired after one game in the second.
Roddick pulled up awkwardly after Wawrinka hit a forehand winner in the third game, then asked for a trainer on the changeover. He came back out and double-faulted, then quit.
Wawrinka reached his second final of the year, after losing to Andy Murray in Doha, Qatar, in January.
Wawrinka is ranked a career-high 24th this week after reaching the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open last weekend, losing to David Ferrer. Next week, he will move into the top 10.
With Federer, it will be the first time two Swiss players have been in the top 10.